DIRECTOR UK ENTERPRISE, CISCO
Q How does the Internet of Everything represent a seismic cultural shift for business and IT?
A The Internet of Everything (IoE) is the intelligent connection of people, data, process and things. It represents a culture shift as it activates the inanimate, giving power to every single asset within the business. It makes assets infinitely more valuable by building them into a network. I like to think of it as the fourth evolution of the internet: after email came e-commerce business models, and recently we’ve seen the rise of social networking and cloud computing. The key is that each evolution has happened quicker than its predecessor.
Q What is the extra value to business of focusing on the connections between assets, rather than the assets themselves?
A IoE differs from Internet of Things (IoT). IoT focuses on the volume of connected things, whereas IoE changes the focus from the number of things to the actual connections themselves. IoE adds the networking intelligence and security between previously disparate systems and things – this is where the value is added. Our research indicates that there is as much as $14.4 trillion of potential economic “value at stake” for global private sector businesses over the next decade, as a result of the emergence of IoE.
Q How is the IoE beginning to take shape? How is it becoming more than an abstract concept?
A It’s beginning to take place today. Your business has already started harnessing it. If you have a network, you’re on the path to IoE success. Every device you connect is part of IoE. Therefore, any object you enable can be part of the network too. Interestingly, 10bn of the 1.5 trillion things in the world are connected to the internet, compared with 200m in 2000. By 2022, we expect 50bn things to be connected to the IoE.
Q What challenges might businesses face in accessing the full potential of IoE?
A The emergence of IoE will certainly present technological, organisational, process, regulatory, cultural, and other challenges. But there are also great opportunities for practical business improvements in areas such as: asset utilisation, employee productivity, supply chain and logistics, customer experience, innovation and reducing time to market. So although daunting, it has already started. Companies need to determine where their business is today with regard to IoE, and then understand the role of IT in enabling their company to benefit from it and which steps are needed to maximise the firm’s security and privacy capabilities. It may also require an internal cultural change programme to embrace IoE fully.
Q What are the dangers involved in not getting to grips with the IoE challenge?
A Ignoring the capabilities of the IoE could have disastrous consequences for a business. Change is inevitable and uncertain. If you’re not embracing this technology evolution your competitor will be and profiting from the potential “value at stake”. So grab your share of this opportunity.
Follow Tim on Twitter @Tim_Skinner